Petals of the Rose
Two Dream As One
On a mild summer night in Portland, two faerie folk were dreaming the same dream. In the dream, a girl emerged from a dark and foreboding labyrinth and into the light, and where she stepped the ground was covered with frost. Although brief, the dream’s meaning was clear to both dreamers.
The following morning, a phone call was placed. The woman said “Shade?”
“I’m sorry it’s 4:30, but I just had a dream about a girl, and I think her name is Porsche.”
“I had the same dream.”
“Are you still at the Shelter?”
“Yes, I’m here.”
“Would you please, please, please, please, please, please check and see if they’ve brought her in?”
“Yeah, I can do that. You should come down here too.”
A car pulled up outside an abandoned looking building in Lake Oswego, one that had been set up for renovation and then left unattended long enough to take it over. A rarity for that town, it was perfect for the Lost people, the fae.
The girl that got out of the car was a young woman with pale white skin which, at close range, appeared to be textured like a primed painters canvas. Her hair was a shock of vibrant everchanging color, and her eyes just shades off. She had pointed elfin ears and a slim nose which seemed to suit her otherworldly but still beautiful appearance. She wore eclectic but trendy clothes, including a jacket with its collar turned up, and today, a calf-length skirt and slippers.
Pollock had been living in Portland for three years, keeping her ear to the ground for word that any of her compatriots had returned. All that time, she stayed away from other changelings when she could, refusing to join a Court and trying not to get in trouble. That policy served her well when things went haywire about two years ago.
About a year ago, Pollock had a dream she she couldn’t shake, and it prompted her to search in the Shelters. The Shelters were the business of the Hospitallers. This order of benevolent changelings took it upon themselves as a solemn duty to search out recently returned Lost and offer them safety and succor. She had found a long lost friend, who now came out of the building to greet her.
Shade was tall and thin, but with a hunched posture. He was completely hairless, with pale gray skin like cracked granite and a huge beak of a nose. His ears were twisted up at the ends like they had been tugged on and stretched, then shriveled like dried sow’s ears. His eyes were just the same as his skin, as though they were merely the suggestion of eyes one sees on a statue. Today he was dressed as he usually did, in a turtleneck sweater and slacks.
They were changelings. Once normal humans, each had been taken away to a strange and terrible realm where the great lords and ladies of faeriekind kept them, abused and neglected them, punished, praised, and twisted them into faerie creatures in their own right. Those who escaped from the land called Arcadia, or simply Faerie, called themselves the Lost.
Together they got back in the car and left for another of the Shelter’s many stopovers and safehouses. This one was exclusively for brand new returnees. Getting out and rushing inside, they queried the changelings running it about whether they’d had anyone new in, and if they matched the description of the girl they were looking for.
One of the Hospitallers, a squat horned troll with giant hands, answered “Yeah, there was a girl. She was in a big hurry, and she seemed to know where she was and where she was going, so we let her go her own way.”
Shade asked “Did she give any hint of where she might go?”
“She was angry about something and she said something about going home.”
Polly and Shade conferred and tried to figure out how they might track her down.